Deck Of Cards

 I will always remember the day when I had to take the Chinese LOTE (Language test harder than regents) in my junior year of high school. After taking 3 years of Chinese at the time and having a Chinese influence with a 95% Asian school located in Chinatown of all places. I came to the point where I need to recollect all my previous Chinese knowledge in order to pass the test. The Chinese LOTE consisted of 2 parts, the oral and written, which were separated in separate days. I remember the oral section of the test the most even though it counted for the least amount of points in the test. There was tension in the air, classmates flipping through their notebook pages and rushing through google translate for some last-minute studying. Those three years of suffering in Chinese class listening to my 老师(teacher) all came down to this moment; if you don’t include the AP Chinese test, we were made to take in our senior year. All the juniors waited in the cafeteria. Waiting for their names to be called randomly. Some playing poker, some chatting but most filled with adrenaline ready to make a full-throttle turn to their testing zone. To be honest I studied for two hours before the test on the train and reviewed all the topics that I was confident in. Our previous Chinese teachers from when we were freshmen and sophomores were our examiners, which we were randomly assigned to. I was gambling with fate at this point to what teacher I’ll get. I was assigned to Ms. Hu, my sophomore Chinese teacher who I had for two months due to an upcoming successful heart surgery, which to me was the best possibility since I made a good impression of her throughout her time teaching my class.My oral was my worst aspect of the language, reading and writing benefitted me more. I either avoided answering oral questions or prepared ahead of time for when I needed to say something. The oral part consisted of 300 random cards displaying different topics and situations which we were to make a conversation with the teacher. You were made to randomly choose 2 of the 300 cards to talk about with the teacher in either teacher or student initiate, so basically it was like good luck.Me being a native Spanish speaker that got more accustomed to English from a young age, trying to learn another language with a time limit of a few years was quite engrossing. Having to change between three languages every day was quite a normal event for me. At school for about two hours I spoke and wrote Chinese to my classmates, at home I spoke a mixture of English and Spanish to show a clear understanding with my mother and siblings. Hearing people in the train, school and parks all speaking Chinese day by day, gradually made me embrace the new language as another way to show people respect and a connection towards them. While I can for sure say that I wasn’t the best or contained the most interest in the culture, I sure did try to meet the expectations that were entitled to me at the time.It might have been luck or low probability when drawing two of those cards but when the time came the two cards that I have chosen were both of the shopping topic that I had studied only hours before. One or the most confident draws that I held up my sleeve. I can’t really recall in detail to my response to her questions but I do remember my score of 21 out of 24 in the oral section. 


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